How to Trick Yourself Into Being a Morning Person

How to become a morning person / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

I have mixed feelings about mornings. The physical act of waking up is damaging to my soul, but mornings generally = coffee so you can see my problem here. What I do not have mixed feelings about is being a morning person. I go back and forth on loving/hating mornings, but have landed on forcing myself into being a morning person makes the whole thing a lot easier.

But Kelsey, how in the world do I possibly become a morning person? Oh my gosh, thanks for asking. I happen to have quite a few tips and tricks for area. After several years of working the opening shift at gyms (hello, 4:30am alarm clocks!) I feel as if I have mastered the morning routine. And lucky for you, I am going to share them today:

  1. Give yourself something to look forward to. Other than the fear of being fired, the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is the promise of my coffee. I prep everything the evening before so the first thing I do when my alarm goes off is head towards my coffee. I take a drink before I even go to the bathroom.
  2. Remove all roadblocks. I prep everything the night before: outfit, lunch and breakfast in my lunchbox,  and having my purse and keys ready to go. Doing this in the evening massively cuts down on how much you need to think in the morning– and gives you more time!
  3. Make your commute fun. I use my 45 minute bus ride to listen to podcasts, read, and look at fun things on Pinterest all while drinking my long awaited iced coffee (this post is not sponsored by coffee, I swear). The commute sucks but is also a good way to relax before you get work.
  4. Keep your home tidy. This is a bigger one, but oh so important. Imagine waking up to a messy kitchen, bathroom or bedroom and trying to wade through it all when your brain is most vulnerable. Take 10 minutes before you go to bed to tidy up and save your morning mood. And I don’t mean mop your floors and dust the bookshelves, I just mean putting your clothes in the hamper, clearing off your sinks and counter tops, and having the room look generally put together.
  5. Look cute. This one might be controversial but I swear it helps. There is a reason why people who work from home also say that getting dressed and ready for the day makes a big difference. Build a few moments into your morning to style your hair, put on some make-up, and make yourself feel put together. If you still feel like you’ve rolled out of bed then chances are you will feel like you still are in bed. So put on some mascara and feel the difference this makes.

If all else fails, you can try bonus #6: Dunk your head in ice water! It probably works just as well as thinking ahead and planning for your days. You might not have such a smooth day afterwards but it’ll wake you up, that’s for sure.

Do you have any morning tips? Are you already a morning person and I sound like I’m speaking Spanish? Let me know, and share those tips in the comments.

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Stitchin’ Mad

"A woman's place is in the revolution" cross stitch, pattern from Pinterest, stitched by Candidly Kelsey / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.comOops I have another new crafting hobby. How shocked are you? Probably not at all. And if you follow me on Instagram then you know exactly what my new hobby is: I’ve learned to cross stitch!

My creative skill arsenal includes knitting, crocheting, very mediocre hand lettering and painting, and gluing sh*t to other sh*t, usually with glitter.  Obviously because that’s not enough, I decided I need to add cross stitch to the mix. And now we can add this to the list of reasons that I am really a middle-aged woman living in a 25-year old’s body.

This all started innocently enough. I was growing bored of knitting (or, really, how expensive knitting is) and wanting something else I could do while I sat on the couch each night. Plus, who can resist cross stitch patterns with potty-mouth language and a whole lotta sass?

Hint: not me.

So I bought a premade kit online and had some fun. I sent oodles of pictures to my friends as I went, as if I was the first ever to make tiny Xs on fabric. I was Cross Stitch Queen, hear me roar. Everyone needed to look at my tiny Xs and how they made shapes and words. I was Picasso but with both ears.

But that wasn’t enough. I needed to do more. When I start something new I have to throw myself into it. In the words of Jenna Marbles, I have the “Too Much” gene. And, having found no other kits that really that tickled my fancy I started creating my own patterns. It’s been really fun, and I’d never realized how much fun coloring in tiny boxes to make one giant picture was. It’s like using an Excel document but not awful! Now these are MY tiny Xs.

"YAAAS QUEEN" cross stitch original pattern by Candidly Kelsey / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

(Psst, special thing just for YOU reading this: I just added my YAAAS QUEEN pattern as my first Etsy listing– I haven’t even officially announced my shop yet! Be the first to get it here!)

"Relax, we're all gonna die anyway" cross stitch original pattern by Candidly Kelsey / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

And then creating my own pattern escalated. Suddenly I have a box full of aida cloth in different stitch counts, and I am in 12 different cross stitch Facebook groups. I really don’t know how this happens. I just blinked and now my coffee table is covered in DMC Embroidery Floss and tiny needles. My couch has tiny stray floss pieces all over it. I pulled yellow floss out of my hair at work last week. It’s a sickness and it’s overtaken me. Send help (except don’t because I’m having a great time.)

Long story short, this is a thing that is now part of me. Kelsey the Crafter lives on (which would have also been a great alternative blog name, if I could also somehow fit “cosmetics” in there too). As today is World Cross Stitch Day, it seemed like a great time to officially come clean about this new thing I do.  I have officially added “cross stitch” into my monthly budget. G*d help us all.

Have you been obsessed with any new hobbies lately? Let me know in the comments.

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My Workout Playlist

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Cardio is the worst. But it’s also the best. Except it’s mostly the worst. Sometimes. But having a good workout playlist can make an absolute nightmare actually sort of fun. Especially if you’re fighting the urge to dance your pants off and not fall off the treadmill.

If you agreed with any of the above statement then my favorite workout playlist is for you. It’s appropriately named “WERK OUT” as these are all songs that make me want to move; a total bonus when you’re trying to actually motivate yourself to move.

When it comes to a workout playlist, I have a few requirements. My exercise jamz need to be high energy, fun, bouncy, and easy to sing along to (in my head). Bonus points if the song makes me feel like I’m dancing at a club, but without the heavy make-up and hair sticking to my sweaty neck.

(Sidenote: Does anyone else ever feel sexiest when they’re working out? I feel powerful, I’m usually in tight pants that make my legs look amazing, and am buzzing with endorphins. And I’m usually staring at myself in a mirror. Am I alone in this? Please tell me I’m not alone in this.)

Follow this playlist on Spotify and download it in time for your next workout— or shall I say werk out. If you use it make sure to tweet me and let me know! Do you have a go-to workout playlist? Share it in the comments!
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Life Lately: Candid Happenings

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Tap, tap, tap. Is this thing still on?

I took an extended break from blogging again while I “found myself” *vomits*. Because working full-time PLUS another part-time job PLUS trying to manage my anxiety was too much. The winter was very rough for my mental health and I just now feel like I’m recovered from it. The skies are clearing up for summer and so is my mind. I’m feeling rejuvenated at work, at home, and with life in genreal. And I have tonnnsss of new ideas for posts.

So what has been happening? What’s the 4-1-1? What’s the hot gossip?!

I turned 25 in March! Happy birthday me! Sorry I missed my 25 Things About Turning 25 post, but you can read about 24 and 23 things I’ve also learned from years past. They’re pretty much the same, honestly. Maybe I’ll do a retroactive 25 things once I hit the 25 1/2 mark. I’m assuming I’ll be wiser then, but I really don’t feel much wiser now. I celebrated my birthday by buying myself presents and going to brunch with my friends. It was glorious. There was a boozy milkshake with a giant birthday candle involved, so what more could you want?

I bought a bunch of new make-up! I successfully completed my 2017 no buy make-up ban for January and February, then went HAM in March on account of “Birthday Month.” And by HAM I mean spending a sum of money at Ulta that I am uncomfortable admitting aloud. (But my Ulta Points account looks AH-MAZING!) I’ve been testing the products I purchased and am planning on doing some reviews soon– including some skincare products I got that were suuuper disappointing.

I took a break from make-up to concentrate on my skin! To totally waste all the money I spent on make-up, I have taken a break from it while I explore new skincare. I am currently trying out Curology, a prescription skincare subscription service. I won’t go into full details because I have an entire post planned, but it’s essentially an online dermatologist. You get paired with a medical professional to assess your skin and they cultivate a topical medication to treat your issues. Though my results have been slow and steady (and not without set-backs) I am very happy with how things are going. More soon!

Speaking of skincare, I have taken a serious rededication to my health. Part of busting out of my anxiety hole included busting out of my bad habits hole, and I’m pretty sure my clear head is partly due to that. I am eating much more nutrient dense foods, am back to exercising regularly, and have set new goals for myself. I’ve successfully lost 20lbs (!!!!!!) since April 1st, and am really enjoying getting back into cooking healthy meals and watching my progress. I went to school for health and wellness, but you wouldn’t know it by how I acted. I figured it was time to start living like I valued my life, ya know? You can look forward to more healthy eating posts coming your way. And maybe some exercise posts too?

That sums up my 2017 so far. Aside from raging against the political machine and continuing to let my cat rule my life, things have been good. And I’m excited to get back in touch with my blog.

So tell me, what do you want to see from Candidly Kelsey? Make-up? Skincare? Food? Bad jokes? Let me know! And leave a comment with what you’ve been up to recently!

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21 Self-Care Activities for When the World Feels Like It’s Falling Apart

Self-care activities and ideas. / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Recently I had a popular tweet– well, popular for me at least. It was a moment of panic and feeling totally helpless that seemed to resonate with other people too.

Self-care activities / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

If you struggle with your mental health– or hell, even if you don’t– what is going on in the United States seems super scary. At the time I tweeted this (and many times after) I felt frozen in my own anxiety thanks to the direction or government is taking. And the only thing that has been able to pull me outta those feelings is a little self-care.

For some, self-care can seem daunting and overcomplicated. But it definitely doesn’t have to be. There are many different ways to self-care so I thought I’d share some easy ones. If you ever feel like the world is falling down, stop and give yourself a little love with some of these self-care activities.

21 Simple Self-Care Activities:

  1. Exercise. Stress or anxiety can manifest itself into physical tension that can easily be released through exercise. If you’re a gym buff, then get there and burn off some steam. If you want something more stationary, try yoga videos on Youtube. Anything to help you move your body and momentarily distract your mind. Plus the post workout endorphins aren’t bad.
  2. Listen to a podcast. 
  3. Take a really long shower. Turn your bathroom into your personal music video and go nuts. Plus that hot water feels good.
  4. Laugh. Netflix comedy specials are fantastic, as are old standby sitcoms like Will & Grace, Friends, and Modern Family. Also never underestimate the power of Youtube (can you tell I love Youtube?) for even older shows like Who’s Line is it Anyway? or content creators like Grace Helbig, Caspar Lee, or other comedians.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Deep breathing. If the idea of meditating is too overwhelming then just focus on breathing. Take three deep breaths, inhaling for 5 seconds and exhaling for 8. Feel your lungs fill with air, and then slowly express it. If it feels good then do 3 more.
  7. Read a book.
  8. Wash your sheets and then lay in your bed. Fresh, cozy sheets FTW.
  9. Help someone. Doing an act of good can make you feel good. Donate $5 to an organization that is important to you. Send a loved one a nice message. Write a nice message on a post-it note and stick it in a place others will see it. Let your mind wander with ideas for how to make someone else feel great.
  10. Read a book. Immerse yourself into a book you love and forget about the rest of the world.
  11. Cook something delicious.
  12. Eat something delicious.
  13. Unplug. Turn off all your electronics and step away from the news. Do whatever you want to that isn’t related to social media, the TV, our computer, iPad, or anything else electronic.
  14. Clean your home. 
  15. Write in a journal. Better yet, start a compliment journal by writing down 3 good things about yourself per day. Use this time to focus on your positive attributes and what you think you excel at. This is a double-whammy activity because it’s a great self-esteem booster as well.
  16. Craft, or do a DIY project.
  17. Pamper yourself. Do a face mask, paint your nails, do your hair, play with your make-up or go get a massage. Just do something to make yourself feel good.
  18. Have sex. Or masturbate. (Sorry not sorry, but I had to say it. It’s not just for dudes!)
  19. Dance it out. The Girl Power playlist on Spotify is BOMB.COM.
  20. Have a glass of wine.
  21. Call a friend and just chat. Tell them what’s bothering you or just talk about nothing in particular.

The possibilities for self-care activities are really endless but these are my favorite. The key to self-care is just doing something you enjoy, or that gives you an pleasant feeling. Just make sure you are taking time for yourself.

Got other self-care activities you love? Share them in the comments!

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